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Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9, is remembered as a ‘beacon of light and hope’ at the school’s first funeral in Nashville

“She was an amazing girl,” Stauffer told mourners, including Mayor John Cooper and Police Chief John Drake.

Attendees, who packed the church less than 5km from the site of the attack, arrived in the colors of spring as a tribute to the spirit of the child. A spectrum of pinks, blues and greens filled the room and overflow areas. Many wiped their tears away crying, while the children held stuffed animals donated by the church in memory of Evelyn.

The shooting killed three students and three adults. In addition to Evelyn, authorities identified the victims as Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, both 9 years old; school principal Katherine Koonce, 60; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; and school custodian Mike Hill, 61.

The horrific act of violence was carried out by a former Covenant student whom officers shot dead as the suspect opened fire on arriving law enforcement, authorities said. A motive has not yet been made public.

Stauffer thanked police and first responders, saying, “You are all amazing. Thank you for all you do for our city.

The recognition was greeted with loud and sustained applause.

In an obituary published in the Tennessean, the 9-year-old’s family described Evelyn as “strong but never arrogant”, with composure beyond her years.

She also loved music.

“Whether singing her favorite songs (especially from her well-played Hamilton or Taylor Swift albums) or composing her own songs on piano, guitar or ukulele, Evelyn had a wonderful sensitivity for music. voice was angelic,” reads his obituary.

Evelyn Dieckhaus, bottom left, with her family.Courtesy of the Dieckhaus family

Evelyn’s uncle, Jeff Dieckhaus, said during the service that his niece was “the shining light in our family” and was “always happy, always smiling”.

“She had the courage of a tiger and a spirit that far exceeded her 9-year-old body,” he said.

The most important thing to Evelyn was her family, he said. She also loved babies, animals and nature, he said.

She was also known as a ‘adoring little sister’ to Eleanor, her uncle said: The two were almost always connected – playing together, snuggling and holding hands as they walked.

They were “each other’s biggest fans,” Dieckhaus said. “Deep down, they were best friends and loved each other so much.”

At the service, Dieckhaus shared a few words from Evelyn’s big sister.

“Evelyn was funny, caring and super knowledgeable. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. »

Earlier in the week, Evelyn’s older sister wept during a church vigil and could be heard saying through tears, “I don’t want to be an only child,” The Tennessean reported.

With services for other victims scheduled for the weekend and next week, it was clear the attack had left the community in mourning and stunned.

Stauffer, the pastor, attempted to lift the darkness from the community.

“We are here to celebrate Evelyn’s life, who she was, the way she loved,” he told parishioners and mourners. “His death is tragic, but it will not be in vain. Faith, hope and love will get us through this time.

“Evelyn left a glow for our entire community.”

Daniella Silva reported from Nashville. Elizabeth Chuck of New York. Dennis Romero from California.


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